Possibilities for Capital Avenue Expansion Project

By: Erin Myers Email
By: Erin Myers Email

Capital Avenue along the north side of Grand Island could receive an update. It's part of a $7.8 million project that would expand the road from two lanes to five.

The Federal Government will provide 80 percent of the cost, leaving Grand Island to pay the rest-- around $1.5 million.

Grand Island City Council Member Larry Carney says, the availability of federal grant money and high traffic flow makes Capital Avenue a prime street for the improvements and expansion.

"I have no objections to the project itself. I mean, after all, its seems to me like this is an opportunity to have a major improvement at that part of town," said Carney.

But the question remains, who will pay for it?
One option is to levy the expense to nearby landowners, allowed by Nebraska State Statute 16-606.
A paving district could be created, which would require homeowners along Capital Avenue to pay towards the half-million dollars of the city's total costs.
Many who live along Capital Avenue disagree about how the city's costs should be assessed.

Travis Freeman lives along Capital Avenue. He says, "It's not fair that just the people who live here along Capital Avenue should have to pay for this. I don't know what the city intends on paying for. Maybe it's a city wide tax, but I do think that's the way it should be."

Gerald Kuszak also lives along Capital Avenue and he feels the project isn't even necessary. He says, "I think it's good enough the way it is. There isn't that much traffic. Plus it's going to take up a lot of peoples' yards and businesses too. I really don't think we need it."

Council Member Carney says the funding could come from somewhere else, other than homeowners.
"The general fund, I don't know what our surplus is now, but it will have to be budgeted if it isn't already," said Carney.

For many homeowners along Capital Avenue, funding alternatives for the project are confusing.

"I don't know if it's been budgeted. I don't know what their plan is or if they're going to hike taxes or how they're going to pay for it. If the city can benefit that's fine, but somebody's got to pay for it. I just don't think it should be everyone along Capital Avenue," said Freeman.

Carney says its important to look at the bigger picture. "The benefits are certainly going to outweigh the costs in the long run," said Carney.

The next opportunity for the Grand Island City Council to vote on the project will be at the upcoming meeting on Tuesday, October 23rd at 7pm.

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